With a makeshift lineup, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC continued its impressive league unbeaten streak to eight matches and extended its clean sheet string to four contests in a scoreless draw against the Oakland Roots on Saturday night.
With the draw, Pittsburgh (7-2-6) dropped points to Charleston, who jumped back into the Eastern Conference top spot on a stoppage time goal vs Hartford earlier in the day.
After a mostly sluggish first half, Pittsburgh turned up the pressure in the final 45 minutes, but couldn’t convert on a few promising chances.
Newly acquired goalkeeper Luis Zamudio made three saves for a shutout in his debut with the Hounds (7-2-6), while his counterpart for the Roots (6-4-4), Paul Blanchette, made two stops.
The draw ended the Hounds winning streak at five straight league matches, but the clean sheet is the fourth straight by the team, which has not allowed a goal in its last 392 minutes against USL opposition.
The opening 45 minutes were a defensive struggle, as Oakland logged the only shot on goal by either team — a nearly 30-yard effort by Anuar Peláez that was easily saved.
The Hounds did run into early trouble defensively, as center backs Joe Farrell and Nate Dossantos received yellow cards inside the first 22 minutes of the match, forcing the team to play a little safer and more conservatively when defending.
Peláez also picked up an early caution for the Roots, who had a slight edge in possession and total shots, while the Hounds had more than double the entries into Oakland’s final third.
The second half saw the match flip, especially with halftime substitute Tola Showunmi creating havoc for the Roots defense.
Pittsburgh had 13 touches in the Oakland box after halftime, while limiting the hosts to only two.
Luke Biasi recorded the Hounds’ first shot on goal by driving into the box and forcing a low save from Blanchette, and Kenardo Forbes set up Junior Etou for a shot that sailed high in a flurry of attacking activity around the 66th minute.
Zamudio made his biggest save minutes later, when he dove to his right to stop a shot by substitute Treyvone Reid that found its way through traffic on a play beginning with a free kick.
The Hounds could have swiped the three points in the final three minutes after Burke Fahling outworked the defense to win a ball near the goal line. Under pressure, he squeezed through a pass that was just behind Showunmi, and the tall forward was able to get a backheeled touch on the ball, but the close-range chance went right at Blanchette for the save.
Next up, the Hounds will return home on Saturday, for the beginning of three consecutive home matches, beginning with a first-ever meeting against San Diego Loyal SC (6-4-5) on Saturday, June 24 at 7 p.m. at Highmark Stadium.
Riverhounds SC lineup (5-4-1) — Luis Zamudio; Dani Rovira, Nate Dossantos (Tola Showunmi 46’), Joe Farrell (Trevor Zwetsloot 46’), Mike DeShields, Luke Biasi; Junior Etou, Marc Ybarra, Danny Griffin, Kenardo Forbes (Burke Fahling 79’); Edward Kizza (Langston Blackstock 79’)
Oakland Roots SC lineup (3-4-3) — Paul Blanchette; Daniel Barber, Joseph Nane, Emrah Klimenta; Kevin Wright (Wolfgang Prentice 80’), Jeciel Cedeño, Napo Matsoso, Guillermo Diaz; Dariusz Formella, Lindo Mfeka (Treyvone Reid 71’), Anuar Peláez (Johnny Rodriguez 71’)
PIT — Joe Farrell 10’ (caution – tactical foul)
OAK — Anuar Peláez 12’ (caution – tactical foul)
PIT — Nate Dossantos 22’ (caution – reckless foul)
PIT — Kenardo Forbes 60’ (caution – reckless foul)
PIT — Tola Showunmi 81’ (caution – reckless foul)
PIT — Marc Ybarra 90+1’ (caution – tactical foul)